CHIN HAD not know razor for several weeks when the Stormy Petrel yesterday ended an extended period of aggrieved silence with an SMS. If the Professor happened to be placid, hungry and prepared to behave, then her friend, who is at home at the range, would find room at the table for an item of XY eye candy. They were not quite her words, but dewy sentiment rang clear. After a month of silence, foolish female pride had been abandoned and that little misunderstanding concerning the metallic-pastel Micra observed overnight in the Billabong’s driveway must have been forgotten. This was welcome news indeed, as it obviated the need to take another shot at a credible explanation for its owner lingering beyond breakfast. The text message, which arrived mid-putt, seemed that most wonderful manifestation of modern feminism: a liberated and eager woman taking the initiative. Why modern gals grumble – many of them, anyway – about unwanted overtures is quite the mystery. What could be nicer than the direct proposition? It is flattering, efficient and obviates the cost in cash and carbon emissions of preliminary investment in several courses of multi-cultural munga and two seats at the Westgarth.
Hmmm, but those whiskers. Should they go or stay? A bit of stubble is quite the thing these days and has worked wonders for many. What other explanation can there be for Waleed Aly’s appeal to those who hire and fire at Fairfax and the ABC. It is quite clear the man has nothing else to recommend him, least of all coherent thought, so it must be the zyph that has turned so many influential heads. Either that, or Radio National is run by people keen to cite at their own dinner parties evidence of that wonderful, open-minded acceptance which regards a fellow who keeps his wife in a sack as not merely representing a more enlightened world but a better and fairer one. Why not make like Wally and present for dinner with bristles intact?
The beard won, in part, it must be admitted, because the golf club bar proved hard to leave and there simply wasn’t time upon stepping into the shower to have it off. Therein the folly of squeezing an extra vodka tonic, although the gravity of this indulgence would not become obvious until much later in the evening.
The food was lovely, as promised, and another guest’s two bottles of Argentinian malbec even tastier. We have, in Australia, many bodies devoted to redressing racism and lifting the burden of oppression from villifed minorities, so many, in fact, that Prime Minister Abbott will probably need more than three years (and a bit of a ginger from inside his own party) to dismantle them all. In the meantime, a clever strategy might be to shift the race bureaucrats' focus to advancing the equality of now-obscure ethnic varietals. The bureaucrats would keep their jobs, which would forestall any protests about racialist injustice, and they might indeed find the new brief a good deal more satisfying. Surely there is more appeal in sharing the spotlight with a good drop than admiring the Soul-Glo sheen of the latest trotted-out mullah's worshipful beard?
Now let us be clear that the Professor’s whiskers were nowhere near being in the same league as those of the tea-cosied cleric who several weeks ago laid out for Q&A’s audience the reason why there is no need to get upset about Islam’s hatred of homosexuals. He went on about it at some length, but the unspoken gist, judging by his fellow guests’ reaction and other of the programme’s questions, would appear to be that it is acceptable for Muslims to consign sodomites to eternal flame, sometimes with the aid of crane and rope in the public square, because, well, Muslims are not Catholics.
This post is not, however, about the equality of all cultures, but the caprice of female passion.
“Eewwww!” the Petrel exclaimed. “You look like an old derro.” Normally quite accepting of otherness -- indeed, eager to extol it -- her tolerance could not stretch to the non-religiously hirsute. There would be no happy bonding after that.
This morning the beard vanished scrape-by-scrape down the plughole, a painful reminder that cheap razors are no bargain. But little cuts and all, a reminder, too, that a bald chin is still better than the acceptance to be gained with Allah-sanctioned bristles.
In the fridge a handsome shoulder of pork, rubbed hard with salt and mustard, awaits tonight’s appointment with the barbecue. No, not for affection, and certainly not delectation, would it be worth joining the Prophet’s disciples, not even to persuade a progressive miss of her obligation to revere a handsome chin and jaw, and other bits beside, replete with manly growth.